13 August, 2006

Trip Report, Day Six

(Friday, July 21, 2006)

Currently I Am In: East Glacier, Montana

I didn’t take any pictures today. I probably should have, but the occasion just never came.

We got up early and left Chinook. Today for the first time in several days, we had a specific destination in mind that we MUST have gotten to by the end of the day. Namely, Glacier Lodge in East Glacier, Montana. Three night reservation in an historic, old style hotel. Once there, no more extensive driving until its time to go home. Although considering its me we’re talking about, chances are I’ll be doing s fair amount of driving exploring the area.

Anyway, the drive from Chinook to East Glacier was mostly uneventful. This area is known as the Montana Hi Line region, named because it runs along the Burlington Northern railway line (the northern most of the railways linking the east coast with the west), which generally parallels US 2 across most of Northern Montana. This is high plains country, almost entirely treeless, with surprisingly few hills or rocky areas. Primarily agricultural, with wheat being the main cash crop. It is not uncommon to find areas where all you can see, right up to the horizon, is a flat sea of waving wheat. A few fair sized towns were driven through: Havre, Shelby, and Cut Bank being the primary ones. It was only until we got west of Cut Bank did we see any real hint of the Rockies.

Passed through the town of Browning. Very, very depressing place. Browning is on the Blackfoot Reservation and serves as the tribal headquarters. Unfortunately, the town looks poorer than anything I saw along the way. Dirty, dilapidated, very, very depressed. It’s a pity, because the town is almost at the base of Rockies and is along the main route to Glacier National Park main entrance. The town should be a tourist mecca, much like Cody, Wyoming is on the way to Yellowstone. But it isn’t. It’s a rundown hovel with high unemployment and low expectations. And the few businesses that seem interested in trying to turn that around... have a very difficult time of it because the rest of the town just doesn’t seem to care. There are people that seem to want to improve things - while exploring, I found a development of newly made, well-kept up suburban-style housing - but until that downtown district gets rebuilt and revitalized, I don’t see anyone wanting to stop and spend any time in the town. Seriously, this is one town where I think building a bypass around it and having the businesses start afresh outside of town might not be a bad idea.

Arrived in East Glacier and checked in at the Glacier Lodge. Nice, big, interior main lodge. Rooms are OK, though; a little more rustic than I would have liked, but for a few days its absolutely fine.

No comments: